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Ford Mustang Hybrid may give pony-purists two big shocks

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Ford’s Mustang Hybrid is still on track to shake up the muscle car segment, it’s reported, with the next-generation two-door following on from the Mustang Mach-E. While an all-electric Mustang coupe or convertible still isn’t expected – despite Ford teasing us with a 900hp plug-in Mustang “Lithium” last year – the hybrid is still likely to be enough of a departure from tradition to divide enthusiasts.

Ford’s original plan had been to launch a hybrid Mustang in 2020 it’s believed. Back in 2017, the automaker revealed its big electrification goals for the next few years, including a gas-electric version of the best-selling F-150 truck. That wasn’t to be the only storied nameplate getting some extra voltage, though.

To be built at Ford’s Flat Rock plant, the Mustang Hybrid played it close to the chest with specifications. All Ford would say at the time was that it would pair a gas engine with an electric drivetrain of some sort, for similar performance to a regular V8 gas-only Mustang. There’d also be a bump in low-end torque.

Instead of that car, however, what we’re getting this year is the Mustang Mach-E. Ford’s decision to borrow the Mustang name for its all-electric crossover SUV was a controversial one, easily on a par with the vehicle’s styling. Still, it seems to have done the trick for early demand, with reservations for the 2021 Mustang Mach-E First Edition selling out in short order.

Down the line, though, there’s still a hybrid Mustang to look forward to. In fact, it could end up being more of a game-changer for the pony car than just electrification alone.

In fact, Ford is considering an all-wheel drive Mustang Hybrid, sources tell Autocar UK. That would be a stark departure from the current car, which has always been offered in rear-wheel drive. A Ford patent filing from 2017, meanwhile, gives one possible explanation for how the automaker’s new drivetrain might work.

Granted by the USPTO in late 2019, the patent – “Twin motor drive system for hybrid electric vehicle” – describes a setup where two electric motors flank a traditional gas engine. The latter is responsible for driving the rear wheels, much in the same way that the V8 in the current Mustang GT drives its rear wheels. The two electric motors, however, would independently drive the front wheels.

As with most patents, there’s a whole lot of flexibility built into the language. The combustion engine, for example, could be a V8, and indeed Ford’s graphics show an eight-cylinder engine being involved for the rear wheels. However, the document also makes clear that different gas engines could be implemented.

The electric motors, too, support various configurations. One possibility is a so-called pancake motor, broad and flat, each connected via a reduction gearbox to one of the front wheels. Among the advantages in doing so, Ford explains, “the electric motors may be selectively energized in order to drive the front wheels independently of the rear wheels.”

What such a setup would allow is true torque vectoring. That is, the front wheels on one side of the car could be spun faster than those on the other side, improving turning performance in corners. Alternatively, the Mustang Hybrid could potentially drive on electric power alone, though range in that situation would depend on the size of the batteries onboard.

That’s one big mystery among several still surrounding the car, which isn’t expected to be revealed until 2022. That would put it at the tail-end of Ford’s original “five year” promise for its electrification roadmap, during which time we’ve seen a number of significant shake-ups. In January of this year, for example, Ford confirmed it would be using Rivian’s electric platform as the basis for an upcoming Lincoln EV.

While there’s no word on non-electrified Mustang models, it seems highly unlikely that Ford would opt to do away with gas-only options in such an iconic car. The new Mustang is believed to use the CD6 platform that the Explorer does, its scalable vehicle architecture for midsize and full-size vehicles.

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2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series confirmed: What we know of this Super SUV

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Cadillac’s most lavish model is about to get a sports upgrade, with the 2023 Escalade V-Series marking the first time the SUV has worn the badge. While already notorious for its scale, luxury cabin, and general excess, the V-Series flavor of Escalade will add performance to that mix.

Source: Cadillac

Full details of the 2023 Escalade V-Series won’t be shared until spring of this year, Cadillac has warned. These newly-released photos, meanwhile, show the pre-production form of the SUV. Still, it gives us plenty to go on, as does the trajectory of the V-Series line in general.

For Cadillac, V-Series is more than just speed

You can’t accuse Cadillac of underplaying just what a V-badged model can do. “With nearly two decades of racing-inspired prowess,” the automaker promises, “the V-Series designation is reserved for vehicles that encompass the peak of Cadillac performance, bold, distinguished design, and innovative technology.”

The route from V-Series’ founding in 2003 to today has seen a few big changes along the way. Initially intended as a way for Cadillac to compete with Mercedes-AMG and BMW’s M division, it debuted with the 2004 Cadillac CTS-V sports sedan. That managed to score a role in the original Matrix movie series, (specifically The Matrix Reloaded, released in 2003), helping secure the green-light for the second-generation V Series in 2009.

Cadillac stuck with a familiar strategy: big, high-horsepower V8 engines, paired with its Magnetic Ride Control system for a sedan that could flick from luxury cruiser to track hero at the push of a button. By the time the ATS-V arrived in 2015, however, the criteria had expanded. Smaller and more affordable than the third-generation CTS-V – which got the Corvette C7’s 6.2-liter LT4 V8 to play with – the ATS-V packed a twin-turbo V6.

Beyond that, Cadillac attempted to replicate what BMW and Mercedes had achieved, expanding “V” as a broader badge to indicate a more sporting – though not necessarily the most sporting – iteration of a regular model. It tried, and abandoned, the V-Sport trim, and has most recently settled on “V” badged models as being entry-level performance options. The CT5-V and CT4-V are the current examples of that.

Source: DW Burnett / Cadillac

Meanwhile, a new Blackwing designation flags the most extreme examples of V-Series performance. Initially referring to Cadillac’s new Blackwing engine, but since expanded, the trim has so far appeared on the CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing, each produced in limited number.

What we expect from the 2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series

For the 2023 Escalade V-Series, the expectation is an evolution in performance rather than the outright leap that Blackwing badging would indicate. The current Escalade – now in its fifth-generation – already features a V8 engine as standard. That’s 6.2-liters in size and offers 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. A 10-speed automatic is standard.

2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series

Source: Cadillac

They’re not small numbers, but then again the Escalade is not a small SUV. One possibility for an upgrade is the V8 from the CT5-V Blackwing, supercharged and with upwards of 600 horsepower on tap. Cadillac would obviously need to upgrade other components such as the brakes to balance that uptick in power, though Magnetic Ride suspension is already available on the SUV in its current form.

2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series

Source: Cadillac

To better distinguish the V-Series truck visually, Cadillac has given it a moody makeover. The grille switches to black mesh, and most of the chrome has been deleted in favor of gloss-black trim. The bumpers front and rear, and the side sills, have been tweaked, and of course there are vast blacked-out wheels, too.

2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series

Source: Cadillac

For the inside, Cadillac is playing it even more coy. A single image previews the “V” badging on the steering wheel, though we’d expect a fair amount of carbon fiber and Alcantara to feature, based on the other V-Series cars. The Escalade already offers a huge, curved dashboard display and plenty of space across three rows, not to mention a whole host of toys to play with.

2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series

Source: Cadillac

As for 2023 Escalade V-Series pricing, there too Cadillac is saving full details. The current model spirals up to over $109k for the standard-length 4WD Sport Platinum trim, and that’s before you head into the options list. A six-figure V-Series is basically guaranteed, then, as Cadillac takes on well-esteemed (and well-equipped) performance SUVs from its German rivals.

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Brabus 800 Adventure XLP Superblack is taking it to the extreme

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Renowned Mercedes-Benz tuning house Brabus has unleashed its latest creation based on the Mercedes-AMG G63 sport-luxury SUV. It’s the newest variant of the 800 Adventure XLP Superblack, a go-anywhere pickup truck hiding a mighty powerful V8 engine under the hood.

Images: Brabus GmbH
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This Airstream eStream concept is an electric camper with an innovative twist

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Thor Industries, maker of the Airstream and other popular RVs, recently unveiled the eStream electric camper concept. It’s essentially a hi-tech Airstream travel trailer with some nifty innovations hiding underneath.

Images: Thor Industries
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